Home > Dirty Promises (Dirty Angels #3)(3)

Dirty Promises (Dirty Angels #3)(3)
Author: Karina Halle

Now I felt I had to come to his defense, something I was used to doing, even in my own head, even against myself. “It’s been five months since Alana died,” I told him. “People need time to grieve. He’s grieving in his own way. He will move on.”

“Luisa …”

I suddenly got up, feeling emboldened by the wine, and shoved Este away. “No!” I yelled. “He will move on. I won’t give up on him, no matter what he’s doing. He’ll find his way back to me.”

“Will he find his way back to this?” Esteban spread out his arms, gesturing to the property. In the distance a few white parrots flew from the trees.

“He’s doing fine,” I told him, bringing my voice down. I jerked my head toward the place I liked to call the “torture hut.” “What was going on in there? Did he not just weed out an informant? Last week, did he not order that safe house to be blown up? Lado’s shipment to be destroyed? He’s doing everything he needs to do to protect us, everything. We’ve never been stronger.”

“He’s being careless,” he said imploringly, taking a step toward me.

“How so?”

He paused, eyes bright. “I guess he didn’t tell you.”

I swallowed thickly. “What?”

“We might have to move, temporarily.”

I blinked at him, not comprehending a word of this. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Esteban licked his lips before taking in a deep breath. “I think Javier should be the one to tell you. It’s not my place.”

Since when did Esteban ever care if it was his place or not? He was constantly handing out his unwanted opinion.

I reached out and grabbed his arm. His eyes met mine briefly and I saw something in them I didn’t want to see right then. Anger … or something smokier than that. Almost sultry.

Quickly I let go and placed my hands on my hips instead. “Cut the bullshit and just tell me. That’s why you were looking for me, weren’t you? You just love being the bearer of bad news.”

He sighed. “You know all about Angel Hernandez?”

Did I ever. Though our cartel, the Sinaloa, was arguably the biggest in Mexico, and Javier had been working on getting the other cartels united, or at least on “friendly” terms under one blanket organization, Angel Ochoa Hernandez remained cagey. He reigned over the Tijuana cartel, and with all of that, he controlled the Tijuana and San Diego border. Which meant he controlled all of the drugs going up in the trucks into America on the I-5. Currently we had to pay him a tariff to let our heroin in — five percent — which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re dealing with millions of dollars, it is.

With our cartel getting more successful, that tax becomes a lot of money that is better spent on ourselves. Javier controlled Ciudad Juarez port for cocaine shipments and we had a free pass for Nuevo Laredo because he was close with Jose Fuentes who lorded over that. But Angel was determined to hold on to Tijuana with all that he had, and unless he was taken out of the picture, we’d never have control.

For months, Javier had talked about making it happen, hiring a sicario to do the job. The only thing that prevented him was timing, and I guess that strange code of honor he carried with him like a reluctant badge. He would never inform on another cartel, and killing a king of one was nearly as bad. But we knew it was something that would eventually have to be done.

Then Alana was killed and it was forgotten. Though Esteban thought he was giving me bad news, the mere fact that he had mentioned Angel’s name meant Javier hadn’t let his ambitions go completely.

“What about him? Is he dead?” I asked hopefully.

He shook his head. “No, but Javier thinks he has a plan to ensure it happens.”

“And what’s so bad about that? You’ve both talked about this, how it would become necessary at some point.”

“What’s bad, Luisa, is that he wants to kidnap a PFM agent to do so.”

“And how does that help?”

He gave me a look that said it didn’t. “Anyway, once we get him, whoever the poor fucker is, we’ll be off to one of our ranches in Chihuahua for the usual interrogation tactics. I think it’s a fucking terrible idea.”

“You’d rather him torture a federal agent here?” I didn’t know — and didn’t want to know — half the shit that went down on the compound, but I knew we never brought anyone here that was of much importance. A federal agent on our soil would be asking for a lot of trouble, especially since Javier had zero control over the PFM. Police and local military, yes. They were all bribed handsomely to look the other way. Hell, they protected Javier. But the government was something else entirely, and they could raise a lot of hell if they wanted to.

“I’d rather he not do this at all. There are other ways to gather intelligence. He could leave it up to me.”

I raised a brow. Esteban was our intelligence man and the techie, but I knew that Javier was having problems putting trust in him as well. “I’m sure Javier knows what he’s doing.”

He shook his head slightly, his shaggy, blonde-streaked hair falling over his forehead. “But that’s the thing. He doesn’t. And we both know it.” He looked back at the house. “Come on, it’s getting dark. You should go back inside.”

But I didn’t want to. I planted my feet firmly. I wanted to stay in the dark. I wanted to stay away from the house. The house that had a room Javier used to fuck whichever whore it was for the night.

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